PUBLIC SAFETY: Appellate court denies bail for man accused of retaliatory murder

PUBLIC SAFETY: Appellate court denies bail for man accused of retaliatory murder

Ruling says bail could not only risk the safety of the accused, but that of the public

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A man accused of murder has been denied bail at the appellate level due to the risk to his safety and that of the public if he was released from the Department of Correctional Services.

Dentawn Grant was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and attempted murder in March.

It was alleged that prior to Grant’s arrest, his vehicle was shot at and that he plotted with others to retaliate for the attack.

According to court documents, the individuals whom Grant thought was responsible for his attack were murdered, “leading to the attempted murder of the virtual complainant”.

It was alleged that Grant was responsible.

He applied for bail in the Supreme Court, but Madam Justice Guillimina Archer-Minnis denied the application for his safety on April 6.

He appealed the decision on the basis that the judge erred in law or acted unreasonably; that the judge erred in concluding that the evidence was cogent and that she erred in law or acted unreasonably in “all the circumstances of the case”.

But the Court of Appeal also dismissed the application.

“The judge considered the safety of the appellant and was cognizant of the fact that the ‘incident occurred in a hotspot for crime and there is a strong possibility of retaliatory attacks”.

In his ruling, Court of Appeal Justice Jon Isaacs said that once there is a basis that an accused person may be attacked on bail, the court is obligated to deny bail.

“The attack on the appellant days earlier is a basis to deny bail,” read the ruling.

“However, a caveat can be applied if the applicant can demonstrate to the court that notwithstanding a finding that his life may be in danger if released on bail, he is able to minimize that risk.

“The appellant submits to this court that he is willing to relocate to another island.

“Unfortunately, that submission was not made in the court below and the judge cannot be faulted for not applying her mind to the efficacy of such a condition in the circumstances.

“In the premises, the judge’s decision to deny bail to the appellant on the ground that the appellant’s life may be in danger is explicable and not unreasonable.

“Accordingly, she was entitled on that basis only to deny bail.”

Scott agreed with Isaacs’ ruling.

The justice added that given the material before the court that the murder appeared to have been in retaliation to a previous attack on the appellant, “there is not only a risk of the appellant’s safety if granted bail, but also a risk to the public’s safety.

“Any retaliation against the appellant puts members of the public at risk who may be in the area where any attack on the appellant may take place,” she wrote.

“In the present case, the material before the court does not suggest that the victim Brianna Grant was [the] object of the retaliation, but was shot because she was with the intended victim at the time.

“In the circumstances, I am satisfied that in addition to the safety of the appellant, it is also in the interest of the safety of the public that the appellant should be denied bail.”

No date has been set for Grant’s trial.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.